Karamanlis calls for a broad alliance

In a passionate speech attacking PASOK and endeavoring to present his vision for Greece, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday played his final card ahead of the European Parliament elections on Sunday, which could decide his and his party’s political future. Speaking at the Pedion tou Areos park in central Athens, Karamanlis attempted to pull out all the stops in a bid to drum up support among his party’s grassroots and win over undecided voters, after a Public Issue opinion poll published late yesterday showed that PASOK had increased its lead over New Democracy to 5.5 percent (38 percent against 32.5 percent). «You have to fight to form the widest alliance possible,» Karamanlis told thousands of supporters. «On Sunday, nobody should be absent. This will be the most crucial factor on our path to victory.» Karamanlis’s most impassioned performance during the speech came when he attacked PASOK. Repeatedly slamming his fist on the podium, he accused the Socialists of being irresponsible and dismissive as well as being guilty of hypocrisy when it came to the scandals that have rocked the government in recent months. «They cannot misinform people about matters in which their own hands are dirty,» said the prime minister. «Shouting does not frighten anyone, especially not Justice, which decides these issues.» He also courted voters who might be thinking about supporting the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) by promising to take tougher measures against hooded troublemakers and to clamp down on abuse of the university asylum law. In an interview on Star TV earlier, Karamanlis ruled out the possibility of a reshuffle if he loses the European election. Polling begins at 7 a.m. and will end at 7 p.m., soon after which the first results will be announced.